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King Edward’s Lower School pupils bring comedy and hit musicals to the stage

Published Monday 3rd of June 2019 10:27:56 AM

In line with the School’s inclusive ‘drama for all’ policy, every one of the 80 Lower School pupils at King Edward’s Witley recently performed in a medley of comedy and musicals to an audience comprising parents, staff and pupils from King Edward’s and its partner school, Barrow Hills. The actors and actresses, aged between 11 and 13, were split into casts based on their Forms, allowing classes to practice and develop their scenes during curriculum drama classes as well as in extended drama rehearsals. The girls and boys each presented an extract from well-known musical hits including ‘Annie’, ‘Oliver’, ‘Matilda’ or ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, with one group performing a play based on ‘The Government Inspector’. The medley of shows allowed for all to be included - from those taking LAMDA lessons who share a natural desire to tread the boards, to those less inclined to volunteer to be on stage. Oliver Glasspool as Fagin sang with great character; Lucy Butler delivered Matilda’s Naughty with assured composure and Chloe Davies as Annie tugged at the heartstrings as she performed Maybe. The costumes In Charlie and The Chocolate Factory were bright and colourful and Jacob Sprake sprang into life in the title role, while the combination of Henrik-Arnesen-Carnell as Augustus Gloop and Alok Uprety as his strongly accented German mother proved hilarious. The cast of ‘The Government Inspector’ touched on aspects of school life, much to the delight of the audience, eliciting several chuckles. The respective performances were introduced by narrators. First narrator, Elena Kelsall (Year 7) said, “The rehearsals have been fun. The best bit was working together to create the different movements, bouncing ideas off each other and making them better.” Hannah Gross, the second narrator added, “It’s a great opportunity to build up your confidence. I liked being the presenter because it’s fun to entertain the crowd in between the scenes. It’s lovely to see the audience smiling too." A staff stage-hand commented, “…there was quite a lot of excited nervousness behind the curtain, but everyone seemed to just love their bit of fame.” Lynsey Cleaves, Director of Drama said, “More than one parent was delighted to have witnessed their child, usually averse to the idea of performing in front of an audience, take to their character ‘like a duck to water’ regardless of whether they played a major role or were part of a group dancing and singing. Our drama curriculum is designed to be inclusive but challenging to all abilities of acting and singing, with frequent opportunities to perform to an audience. The rehearsal process is just as important as the final product. Pupils learn to work collaboratively, to take risks, to experiment and to be creative. They learn that commitment and hard work is rewarded with success and enjoyment. These are all essential skills to help them develop as they journey through school’s academic and cocurricular demands and onto university and beyond. The Lower School children were fabulous, and I believe we have inspired them to keep a touch of ‘drama’ in their life! I must also thank Michelle Payne for bringing her expertise to the choreography, adding flair and sequencing to the performances and to the Tech crew for the sound and lighting that always adds to a show’s success”.
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